It doesn’t add up: We’re even worse at maths than Albania as UK schools rank 43rd in the world Read more:

9 Sep

Britain is languishing behind Albania in a league table for maths and science education, according to an authoritative international study.

A report by the World Economic Forum has ranked UK schools 43rd in the world – behind countries such as Iran, Trinidad and Tobago and Lithuania.

The findings are a damning indictment of Tony Blair’s pledge to prioritise ‘education, education, education’ and come after education spending doubled from £35.8billion to £71billion under Labour.

he Prime Minister will today warn that Britain needs a return to ‘elitism’ and a ‘complete intolerance of failure’ in its schools.


The country must improve standards to compete with the rising economies of India and China, he is expected to say in a major speech.


‘We want to create an education system based on real excellence, with a complete intolerance of failure,’ Mr Cameron will add. ‘We’ve got to be ambitious if we want to compete in the world.


‘When China is going through an educational renaissance, when India is churning out science graduates… any complacency now would be fatal for our prosperity.’


He will hail the opening of the Coalition’s free schools – state schools run by businesses, charities or parents – as indicative of a ‘real passion for education’.


Elitism: David Cameron wants an ‘intolerance of failure’ in schools


The Prime Minister will also say education reform is vital to help ‘mend our broken society’.


The WEF findings reveal British pupils are at a disadvantage compared to many others around the world, with the country at risk of developing a core skills shortage.


While the UK languishes in 43rd position in the table, Singapore tops the list, followed by Belgium and Finland.


New Zealand takes seventh place, Canada eighth, France 15th  and Bosnia and Herzegovina 41st. Just below the UK sit Jordan and Romania.


And Britons do not only fare poorly when it comes to maths and science, as a recent OECD report showed a fifth of 15-year-olds are ‘functionally illiterate’.


The WEF annual study, carried out between January and July, is based on in-depth surveys of 142 countries and takes into account each nation’s economic and business standing.


Conservative MP Chris Skidmore said: ‘After 13 years in which Labour failed to grasp the importance of maths and science education to our future prosperity, this report shows how much ground we have to make up.’


‘We should be competing with  the likes of Singapore, not Iran  and Albania.’


The UK’s ranking in 2008 was 47th, meaning there has been a slight improvement over the last three years.


It is thought this is because during the recession, teenagers have heeded calls from employers for more graduates who have core skills in maths and science.



A group of universities will slash tuition fees in an attempt to secure hundreds of student places, it emerged yesterday.

More than a third of universities have already set their 2012 tuition fee at the  maximum £9,000 a year.

Only four institutions are charging £7,500 or lower for all of their courses.

They will be joined by at least 12 more following an email to vice-chancellors urging them to impose fees of less than £7,500.

Most are believed to be former polytechnics. The letter from the university standards watchdog, the Office For Fair Access, comes after the Government announced incentives for institutions that charge lower fees.

However, the move drew criticism yesterday and accusations that the Coalition’s policy is in complete disarray. It comes a week before the admissions process for next year starts.

This means thousands will be expected to choose universities without knowing the cost, pointed out Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students.

Meanwhile, it was announced that fees in Northern Ireland will be kept at £3,500 a year.


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